Date Published - Spring / 2010
- This article originally found at: Central Bucks Chamber Commerce W4
NEJAD ORIENTAL RUGS WEAVES CULTURES TOGETHER
By Anne Biggs, Journalist
Stories unfold beneath your feet. Beauty is captured in a downward glance.
Thousand year-old handicraft techniques cushion your every step.
Walk into the Nejad Rug Gallery at State and Main in Doylestown and you are
immediately surrounded by history, art and traditional fiber craft in an almost
dizzying array of intensely rich colors and patterns. With only a little effort,
you can imagine deft fingers knotting brilliantly hued silks or wools to make
each hand-crafted carpet in the showroom, from the smallest mat to the largest
16 by 35 foot expanse and custom-made sizes ready to go out to their new owners.
This is the "art underfoot" that Ali Nejad and his wife, Theresa Capaldi Nejad,
experience every day as owners of the 25-year-old business they have nurtured
to worldwide success through the weaving of cultures here and abroad.
"Every carpet tells a story, either woven into it or of what people go through day
after day in the making of it. People spend lifetimes making just one," says Ali,
who readily admits to his deep appreciation and passion for this art form and the
artisans who practice it. "They inspire me."
Knowledge of the details
Many people walk across a handmade oriental rug and notice its beauty.
Some appreciate the intricate designs and the hundreds of hours of hand-knotting that
went into the piece. But only a few rare people have the depth of knowledge required
to judge the design and workmanship and to buy or sell with confidence.
Ali Nejad is one of those few.
There is much to be aware of when it comes to buying and living with oriental rugs
– age, rarity, condition, construction techniques, county of origin, dyes, fibers,
the differences between antiques and semi-antiques, cleaning and repairing.
Not only is Ali Nejad incredibly knowledgeable about the handmade rug industry,
he is also deeply engaged in the process of designing and producing the carpets he
sells. The Nejad Gallery website is itself a wealth of valuable information for
novices as well as aficionados, including the history of rug-making going back
thousands of years and an explanation of the finer points of rug-crafting,
from sheep to loom and beyond.
Ali and Theresa – who is director of design for the Nejad Gallery’s own
collections – travel frequently to carpet-producing communities overseas where
they purchase carpets and oversee production to make sure the weaver’s work
matches the inspiration. They have 20,000 to 30,000 handmade carpets in the
Doylestown showroom and two Bucks County warehouses, and each week ship dozens
all over the country and beyond to discerning customers for their homes, offices
and commercial sites. Everything is in stock, including antiques and
one-of-a-kind pieces, rounds, ovals, rectangles, squares and runners.
Besides the gallery’s own astonishing inventory of traditional, transitional and
contemporary carpets, Ali’s robust network of agents, weavers and their managers
provide his customers with access to carpets made worldwide.
The gallery also specializes in cleaning, repairs and restoration of family heirlooms,
much of which is done locally using a network of experts chosen by the Nejads.
“We personally supervise all the work,” he says. “Whatever is done must add value
to the carpet and maintain its integrity, antiquity and character. Sometimes we
have sent them overseas for restoration to where they were originally woven.
The process can take a couple of years or more.
“We’ve built personal relationships all over the world. We import, we design and
we oversee production and every step of the journey to bring the rugs to your home.”
Theresa Nejad develops the gallery’s design collections, introducing beautiful and
decorative rugs that appeal to a range of tastes and home fashion trends.
Bucks County Landscapes is inspired by the colors of the local fields, forests,
sky and waterways. Her Beach Rugs were conceptualized from Ali and Theresa’s
Ocean City summer vacations with family and friends. The Signature Rug Collection
is perhaps the most admired, and Bucks County Hook Rugs, featuring traditional country
patterns, have been sold at Neiman Marcus.
“She is the most talented person, passionate and fearless,” Ali declares.
He adds that her work has been published in Architectural Digest.
Ali is proud of his involvement with and assistance to charities and non-profits,
including schools, veterans’ organizations, healthcare facilities such as Doylestown
Hospital and Fox Chase Cancer Center, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America,
Pearl Buck Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, World Affairs Council of
Philadelphia, PBA and KIVA, the organizations that supplies loans, savings and
other basic financial services to the poor worldwide.
The Nejads’ extensive travel and the close ties, both personal and business-related,
that they’ve developed with other cultures have given them a unique perspective on
international relationships and how to serve the global community.
Regarding conducting business in the war-torn countries where many of their carpets
are made, Ali says, “Just by being there and knowing what’s going on, we recognize
that it’s going to take time to develop the plans we [American business leaders]
envision. And to do that, I have to be there with our team.
“We feel Afghanistan [for example] needs to address stabilization. It has a great
deal of history with carpet weaving, and I’m willing to invest my time and resources
to create jobs and opportunities that will help stabilize the country. In particular,
women in Afghanistan should be taught, and encouraged to teach their children, and
that will help. We’re willing to do that. It has nothing to do with economics.
We want to be a company that contributes and makes a difference. We are sincere
“We are citizens of the world…we ought to be able to use our resources for the
betterment of mankind.”
Central Bucks Chamber Commerce W4
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